RESIDENT FOREIGNERS

1Pe 1:1-2  “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

There are some Bible scholars who contend that First and Second Peter could not have actually been written by Peter. After all, he was just a fisherman. It is not likely that he had sufficient education to write with such clarity and excellence. Keep in mind that it was this same uneducated fisherman that stood before the host on the day of Pentecost and preached with great wisdom and power. This is the same Peter that preached to the people in the synagogue after claiming healing for the lame man in the name of Jesus. This is the same Peter that stood before the council and declared with such rich oratory the truth of Jesus Christ. I personally believe that the same Lord that told Peter “. . . when thou art converted, strengthen the brethren (Luke 22:32)” gave him the tools to accomplish that, both in word and deed.

Peter’s address to “the strangers” is worth a little looking into. According to Strong’s, the Greek word literally meant a resident foreigner. We understand that this earth is not our native habitat once the redeeming grace of God through Jesus Christ is applied to us. At the same time, God in His mercy has given us a kingdom here to dwell in. He has provided His children good land (I’m speaking in a spiritual sense, now) that we might have a place to dwell while we live in this world. However, we are still foreigners regardless of how many years we may abide here. I had the privilege of serving a group of God’s people in Mississippi many years ago, and lived there for seven years. One of my neighbors was a precious older lady who had been born and raised there. Some of the other neighbors had lived there for over 40 years, but to her they were still from “out of town.” I was “that new guy” when I moved in, and I was still “that new guy” seven years later: in other words, I was a resident foreigner.

These resident foreigners had a wonderful estate! They were elect (chosen, favored) according to the foreknowledge of God. Some will tell you that God simply saw ahead of time those that would believe and chose them. However, if God will grant us understanding, I think the meaning here is clear. God knew, before we had a being, everyone that He would cover with the blood of His only begotten Son. This knowledge was not based on any action on the part of the elect, but solely on God’s eternal will and purpose. Furthermore, out of this host that will be housed in eternity, God has elected a people to love, serve, and honor Him in this present world according to this same power of foreknowledge.

This election is manifested through the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. God makes His electing grace and calling known to us through His abiding presence while we are resident foreigners. It is His Spirit that purifies us. Finally, the stated purpose of this election is to give us entrance “into a particular place, time, or purpose” (see Strong’s definition of “unto’). In this instance, as resident foreigners our election brings us to an entering in here, now, of the obedience and cleansing of the blood of Jesus Christ. We are today in possession, by His grace, of the remission of our sins and the power to live a life of obedient service unto God. Who better to deliver this message than Peter, since he lived the experience of this wonderful truth!

May grace and peace be multiplied unto you!

 

 

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